Clogs are a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used worldwide and although the form may vary by culture, within a culture the form often remained unchanged for centuries.
Traditional clogs remain in use as protective footwear in agriculture and in some factories and mines. Although clogs are sometimes negatively associated with cheap and folkloric footwear of farmers and the working class, some types of clogs are considered fashion wear today, such as Swedish träskor or Japanese geta.
Clogs are also used in several different styles of dance. When worn for dancing an important feature is the sound of the clog against the floor. This is one of the fundamental roots of tap.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a clog as a "thick piece of wood", and later as a "wooden soled overshoe" and a "shoe with a thick wooden sole". Welsh traditional clog maker Trefor Owen identified three main varieties of clogs: wooden upper, wooden soled and overshoes.
Welsh traditional clog maker Trefor Owen identified three main varieties of clogs: wooden upper, wooden soled and overshoes.
- Wooden upper clogs; are made by hollowing out a lump of solid wood to make a combined upper and lower. Two main variants can be seen:
- whole foot clogs; where the wooden upper covers the whole of the foot to near the ankle, such as the familiar Dutch klomp. They are also known as "wooden shoes". Whole foot clogs can give sufficient protection to be used as safety footwear without additional reinforcements.
- half open clogs; where the wooden upper extends over the toes or slightly further, such as the Italian "zoccolo" or Belgian sabots. The upper is similar in outline to a court shoe. Half open clogs may have additional covering or securing straps in some sort of fabric or leather.
- Wooden soled clogs; use wood for the sole only. Wooden soled clogs come with a variety of uppers:
- complete uppers made from leather or similar material, such as English clogs. For more protection, they may have steel toecaps and/or steel reinforcing inserts in the undersides of the soles
- open sandal type fitting. For example, Japanese geta
- toe peg styles. For example, Indian paduka
- Overshoes; are wooden soles with straps designed to be worn over other footwear for protection, commonly known as pattens. Patten style clogs are not used anymore. However the derivative galoshes are common worldwide.
These divisions are not fixed: some overshoes look more like whole foot clogs, like Spanish albarca, whilst other wooden soled clogs raise and protect clothing in the way that overshoes do, such as Japanese geta.
The origin of wooden footwear in Europe is not precisely known. Wooden footwear often ended up as firewood and, because of its nature, wood will rot away in the long run. The oldest surviving wooden footwear in Europe is found in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and dates from 1230 and 1280. These finds look very similar to the wooden shoes that are still worn in The Netherlands.
Since wooden footwear was a hand-made product, the shape of the footwear, as well as its production process showed great local and regional diversity in style. At the beginning of the 20th century machine-made wooden footwear was introduced. After WW2, in particular, wooden shoes disappeared from sight. They were replaced by more fashionable all-leather and synthetic footwear.
Images for kids
Belgian sabot from Belgium
Træsko from Denmark
Sabot from France
Holzschuh from Germany
Zoccolo from Italy
Klumpės from Lithuania
Tamanco from Portugal
Cantabrian albarcas from Spain
Träskor from Sweden
Zoggeli from Switzerland
Paduka from India
Namaksin from Korea
Terompah from Malaysia
Bakya from the Philippines
Tai-Ping boots from China
Takunya from Turkey
In the 1970s and 1980s, Swedish clogs became popular fashion accessories for both men and women. They were usually worn without socks and were considered suitable attire for the avant-garde man. Men wearing clogs sock-less exuded a stunning and virile look that flourished among college campuses.
In the 1980s and 1990s clogs based on Swedish clogs returned in fashion for women. Platform clogs or sandals, often raised as high as 6 or even 8 inches right through between sole and insole, were worn in many western countries.
- Bata Shoe Museum, Canada
- International Wooden Shoe Museum Eelde, Netherlands
- Bai Mi Wooden Clog Village, Taiwan
- Clitheroe Castle Museum, Lancashire, UK.
Clog (shoe) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.